For more than a dozen years, we have sent teams to support Nicolás Fund for Education in La Esperanza, Guatemala. In that time, enduring relationships of love and trust have formed between team members and villagers. One such relationship emerged between team member, Tom and a widow in the village named Juana.
Juana is the adopted mother of Bernabé, a boy who’s life seemed destined for trouble. Juana has been doing her best to raise Bernabé as a single mom. On each of Tom’s trips to the Ixil, he made a point to seek out Juana to give her a word of encouragement.
Bernabé’s negative attitude has been a source of pain for Juana. She has been praying for a solution for the past few years as he was frequently truant from school and eventually dropped out altogether. He fell in with a “bad crowd,” was both disrespectful, and physically and emotionally abusive to Juana. Bernabé traveled to the fincas (plantation farms) to work, a fertile ground for gang recruitment. This came at a particularly difficult time for Juana, as she developed a severe eye condition that causes pain when exposed to bright sunlight. This eye condition made it impossible for Juana to plant or harvest crops.
Nicolás Fund for Education National Director, Ivan España, recognized Juana’s problem and devised a plan. Nicolás Fund for Education began providing a village tutor for Bernabé to help him catch up in school. Bernabé began to benefit from the tutoring. The progress was both slow and not without setbacks. This year, Ivan came up with a new plan: Tom would pay Bernabé to plant and harvest Juana’s snow peas; Bernabé would not have to travel to the fincas for work. Bernabé agreed to this plan.
Lo and behold, the harvest came in. Bernabé felt pride in what he accomplished for his family. With his proceeds, Bernabé purchased a small transistor radio for Juana. Juana has a deep faith. When she and Bernabé get up at 5:30 am, they immediately turn on the radio to listen to Christian music. Bernabé has become respectful of Juana: helping with chores, asking how her day was and telling her about his day. This was a tremendous change from last year!
Bernabé began attending Nicolás Christian School and has become a good student! The Christian education he receives at school helps his personal relationship with God. Bernabé has become part of the Christian community at Nicolás Christian School, where all the students come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. Bernabé seems so much happier now. God is transforming Bernabé’s life through love and male role models such as Ivan España and the teachers at Nicolás Christian School, as well as the generosity of the Tom’s to support tutoring, field work, and school scholarship. God never gave up on Bernabé; neither did Juana, Tom or NFE. God worked a miracle that is changing Bernabé’s life and answered Juana’s prayers. Thanks be to God!
Click here, if you would like to know more about Nicolás Fund for Education and upcoming Impact Team trips to Guatemala.